My sons: Alan in front, on right; Ronnie standing on right; Bruce in center in back. The others are all grandsons at Matt's wedding last June.
Forty-five years ago, my youngest son Alan who was two years old at the time, suffered from severe asthmatic attacks. We took him to a throat specialist who was recommended by our pediatrician. The specialist looked down Alan's throat and told us that his vocal chords were paralized and that if there's no improvement he might have to do a tracheotomy. We were to keep in touch with our pediatrician and visit this specialist again the following week.
In the meantime, I spoke to our Rabbi and, according to the Jewish religion, we decided to give Alan an additional Hebrew name. The name "Alta," which means "Old One," is basically given to babies or young people who are ill, so that when they are blessed with this name they will live to a ripe old age.
Alan was taking a nap at the time the Rabbi said a prayer for him and gave him this name. He cried when he woke up from his nap and complained that his throat hurt. I called the pediatrician, who told me to "give him a Sucretes," which I did. Two days later, we took Alan back to the throat specialist, who looked down Alan's throat with this little instrument with a mirror attached. Then he smiled, gave Alan the instrument as a gift, and said, "He's fine -- his vocal chords are moving!"
Alan is now forty-eight years old, participates in all kinds of sports, runs marathons in record time, and is in perfect health. All of my sons married Christian girls, and Alan's children are the only two of my nine grandchildren who decided they wanted to be Jewish. Alan's e-mails to me are signed, "Love, Alta."
Because Ronnie was so sick after his bypass surgery, in addition to all my prayers and the prayers of family and friends, I decided to ask our Reformed Rabbi to change Ronnie's Hebrew name to Alta. I told the Rabbi that Ronnie had converted to Christianity ten years ago and asked if that would make a difference. He said it wouldn't and added that he would say a prayer that day and change the name.
As I was speaking to the Rabbi on the phone, my cellphone rang but I didn't answer it. The call had come from Ronnie's son Jason, whose poems are on this site. After I hung up the phone, I returned Jason's call. Jason said, "Grandma, they just removed Dad's breathing tube and he's doing fine. His fever is gone and he's breathing well!"
Later that day, my granddaughter Ashley (Ronnie's daughter) called me and said, "Dad's doing great! I told him about his new name and he likes it!"
Thank you God and thank you my wonderful family and friends. The power of prayer plus a new name have given my son a new lease on life. Now I have two ALTA'S! I call this a MIRACLE!
October 28, 2011
Daughter-in-law Maureen (Stevie's widow), Grandsons Matt and Evan and Matt's beautiful bride Jill came here today in this crazy snowstorm to take me to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. What a beautiful end to a very stressful week! xxxooo